By Aliyah Kiesler
On Jan. 27, President Donald Trump passed an executive order that will affect and restrict immigrants from the following Middle Eastern countries: Syria, Iraq, Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Libya and Yemen. This executive order bars refugees from these nations from entering the United States for 90 days, and bans residents from the previously listed countries from entering for 120 days. Mixed messages have been sent by the Trump administration about how those with green cards will be treated. Initially, those with green card status were included in the travel ban. Now, however, after extensive backlash from legal experts, the Trump administration is easing these travel restrictions on green card holders. To try and counteract the mixed messages from the Trump administration, the Secretary of Homeland Security, John Kelly said, “Lawful permanent resident status will be a dispositive factor in our case-by-case determinations.”
After the executive order was signed, many people stood together in protest at airports throughout the country. There are accounts of students that were accepted into universities in the United States being denied or not being able to come for auditions, meetings or interviews for these schools. Syrian refugees who expected to be able to seek asylum in the United States are being severely impacted by this executive order. People–even those with green card status–are being advised to cancel any trips or vacations to see relatives until further notice.
Over this past weekend, President Baenninger sent out an email addressing the new immigration ban. Speaking to the concerns of international students, President Baenninger wrote:
“I state here in the strongest words possible that Drew University does not and will not ever discriminate against someone because of her or his religion, race, country of national origin, gender identity, or sexual orientation…As its leader, I will do everything within my abilities [to] ensure that this remains true, even in the face of challenges like the ones presented in the executive order.”
“It is simply too soon to fully understand how best to protect our students. For now, we must listen, express our support, and refer students for legal advice when they require it.”